Hottest Day: On Tuesday, the planet experienced its highest temperature in at least 44 years, and quite possibly much longer.
This trend is expected to continue on Wednesday, making it the third consecutive day of record-breaking heat, highlighting the alarming but unsurprising pattern of climate change extremes observed by scientists.
Unprecedented Heatwave: Planet Records Hottest Day in Over Four Decades
According to the Climate Reanalyzer at the University of Maine, which relies on satellite data and computer simulations and is commonly used by climate scientists to assess global conditions, the average global temperature on Tuesday reached 62.9 degrees Fahrenheit (17.18 degrees Celsius).
This surpassed the previous day’s record of 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit (17.01 degrees Celsius), which lasted a mere 24 hours.
Although not officially recognized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the unofficial data provides a strong indication of our current situation.
NOAA’s chief scientist, Sarah Kapnick, emphasized that while the dataset used for the unofficial record only dates back to 1979, when considering other data, it is highly probable that we are experiencing the hottest day in several hundred years.
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According to Kapnick, the previous hottest day occurred in August 2021.
Stanford University climate scientist Chris Field, who was not involved in the calculations, stated, “A record like this is another piece of evidence for the now widely supported proposition that global warming is leading us into a hotter future.”
While average temperatures near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius) may not appear extremely hot in some areas, Tuesday’s global high surpassed the 1979-2000 average by nearly 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius).
This already exceeds the average temperatures of the 20th and 19th centuries.
The rise in temperatures poses severe challenges for people worldwide.
High heat levels have adverse effects on human health, particularly for vulnerable groups such as the young and elderly who are susceptible to heat-related illnesses even in normal conditions.
“People aren’t accustomed to such extreme temperatures. Their bodies are not acclimated to that,” said Erinanne Saffell, Arizona’s state climatologist and an expert in extreme weather and climate events.
“It’s important to understand who might be at risk, ensuring they stay hydrated, cool, and avoid exerting themselves outdoors, as well as taking care of those individuals around them who may be vulnerable.”
These record highs follow a series of extraordinary meteorological and climate events throughout the year, such as unprecedented warmth in the North Atlantic, record-low sea ice in Antarctica, and the rapid intensification of El Niño, according to Jason Furtado, a meteorology professor at the University of Oklahoma.
While scientists typically rely on longer-term measurements spanning months, years, or even decades to monitor global warming, these new figures signify that climate change is entering uncharted territory.
Even if they don’t align precisely with the measurements used by prominent climate monitoring institutions like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
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The data effectively capture the global-scale heating phenomenon and will be taken into account by NOAA for official record calculations, as stated by Deke Arndt, director of the National Center for Environmental Information, a division of NOAA.
Additionally, high-temperature records were recently broken in Quebec and Peru, with Beijing experiencing nine consecutive days with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).
Numerous cities across the United States, from Medford, Oregon, to Tampa, Florida, have been hovering near all-time high temperatures, according to Zack Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Wednesday is projected to potentially set another unofficial record, as the Climate Reanalyzer forecasts record or near-record heat.
Antarctica’s average temperature for Wednesday is an astonishing 4.5 degrees Celsius (8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 1979-2000 average.
Heat advisories are currently in effect for over 30 million people in various regions, including parts of western Oregon, inland far northern California, central New Mexico, Texas, Florida, and the coastal Carolinas, as reported by the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center.
Excessive heat warnings continue in southern Arizona and California.
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